Web Design Myths

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Myth #1:  Web Design is For Techies

This couldn't be further from the truth.  Today most people use WordPress and it's got to be one of the easiest and fastest ways of getting a site online.

If you're creating a static website like this, there is software out there like Artisteer that help help you design a decent-looking site in minutes.

And if you want to take an even simpler route, there are web hosting solutions like Website Tonight that allow you to select a template, edit the page, and save your work right to the web with a few mouse clicks.  Everything you need to build and manage your site comes with the web hosting package.

If you want to make money from your site, you may want to think about getting Site Build It!. It also comes with a website building tool and a video action guide for training.

So before you go out and hire an expensive web designer, make sure you look into the solutions above.  You may be able to get what you need at a much lower cost!

Myth #2:  Flash Will Enhance Any Website

If you plan on using any enhanced features such as Flash, be sure to use it efficiently and sparingly.

Remember, this feature should enhance the visit, not hinder it.  You don't want people to become impatient and hit the back button before they even see your key message.

Additionally, people may not have the Flash plug-in installed on their PC so before they can view your site, they must wait for it to download.

Don't get me wrong, Flash can be a very nice enhancement to a web site if used effectively.  Just make sure you test it out on a sample audience and get their feedback.  

Also be sure to give your visitors the opportunity to view a "non Flash" version of your web site for those who cannot or do not wish to read the Flash version.  You certainly don't want to lose visitors because people cannot view your site properly.

The other thing to consider about Flash is that Apple products cannot view this application. So if someone is browsing your site on an iPad or iPhone then they won't be able to view any of the Flash elements. This could be horrendous if your entire site is created in Flash.

Myth #3:  Lots of Colors Enhance A Web Site

Remember that actual humans will be reading your site so you want to make it as visually pleasing as possible.  If your visitor's eyes hurt from reading your pages, they won't return.

Your site should consist of 2 to 4 colors max and remember that it's easier to read dark text on a light background. Even though red and purple may be your favorite colors, they don't generally team up very well for a text/background combination.

Also remember to make sure your hyperlinks are the same color on every page.  Many believe you should only use the standard blue color for your links, but I disagree.  As long as they contrast from the background and are consistent throughout your site, the color shouldn't matter.

Myth #4:  You Can Never Have Too Many Images

When used sparingly, images can really enhance various pages on your web site.  They are great for illustrating certain points, and if you're creating a personal site, you may want to add a photo album.

One very important thing to keep in mind about images is that they can make your pages load very slowly.  If your page doesn't load within 10 seconds, you are in danger of losing many visitors.

Ideally, your pages should not be larger than 30K in size -- this includes the images and HTML. If you find that they are too large, use an image editing program to size your pictures down.  

Additionally, ensure that all of your images are saved in the correct format. Photos should be saved in .jpg format (more colors), while web images, clip art, etc. should be saved in .gif format (fewer colors).

Also remember to always include the "height" and "width" HTML attribute on all of your images so your text will load first instead of waiting until all the images load.

Myth #5:  Your Site Is Always Viewed Equally

This is a common mistake made by many webmasters. Just because your site looks fine on your PC, don't assume it looks that good everywhere.

Remember that different browsers handle HTML a little differently.  So if you've checked your site in IE, make sure you also view it Netscape.

Also remember that not everyone has their resolution set to the same value.  If you're building your site with your screen resolution set to 1280 x 800, make sure you view it in 800 x 600 as well. 

If you are using tables, you should set the widths in percentages rather than pixel values.  That way if you have the width set to 80%, for example, it will take up 80% of the screen no matter what resolution you view it in.

On the other hand, if you set it to 900 pixels wide on your 1024 x 768 screen, it may look fine, but if someone else is viewing your site using 800 x 600, they will have to scroll left and right to view your entire page.  That is a huge annoyance.

Remember to design for the masses!

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